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But kept a Fiend within her house, who fill'd
The cursed place, so soon as day was kill'd,
With gleams and fiery aspects; for, at night,
The awe-struck passers-by had seen the light
In which those angels dwelt, that thither came,
Paint the dark casements with a sudden flame.

  The priests aloud for instant vengeance call,
And drag the maiden to the Justice Hall.
The people throng, and gaze into her eyes,
And think they see a spirit from the skies,
With visage pale, by golden tresses hemm'd,
Come there to judge, and not to be condemn'd.
A busy murmur passes up and down:
The thronèd Judges wear an ominous frown,
And hearken to the eager priests, who cry,
"She is accurs'd! To vengeance, instantly!"
Alas! they have determined on the deed.
The sentence has gone forth: it is decreed
That in a fire she shall be burnt to death.

  The people for a moment hold their breath;
Then rush from out the Hall, and reach the place
Of execution, in an open space
Beyond the town, and barr'd the other way
By wall-like mountains, old and dusky grey;
And, in the midst, there is an iron stake,
From which a drooping chain hangs heavy and black.
Some one each day, upon a foul pretence,
Dies at that stake; and there, for evidence,
A heap of pallid ashes at the foot,
Mix'd with charr'd wood, and with a fearful soot,
Before the wind goes staggering to and fro.
All round this point, the people in a row
Await, with close lips and with frequent sighs,
The offering of that lurid sacrifice.

  The victim comes, by savage priests shut in,
Who rage and trample with a ceaseless din,
And throw their quivering arms about the air,
And dance like drunken men with heads all bare.
And now the brands around the stake are laid,
With straw between. The unoffending maid
Beholds the pile, and sees, with steadfast eye,
The sharp and cruel Murder standing by;
The executioners, with eyes blood-red,
Like half-spent embers glowing in the head;
The flaming torches flashing round about;
The glare and smoke; the stirring of the rout;
The fixèd mountains, cold and passionless;
The meadows flaunting in their summer dress;
The conscious-looking heavens, bare and still;
The moveless trees; the running of the rill;
The quick birds, loudly flapping on the wing;
The people round, with white lips murmuring:
All this she sees, and still she does not quake.

  Those bloody men have bound her to the stake;
And yet she smiles, and not a word she says.

  The heap is fired; the straw and faggots blaze;
The deathsmen farther from the pile have fled;
The flames, up-springing, dash the heavens red;
The swarthy smoke, like metal in a forge,
Grows sanguine all about that fiery surge.

  A miracle! a wonder to behold!
The flames are out; the lighted brands are cold!
Another marvel yet! No brands are there,
But only two fresh Rose-trees, budding fair;
The one with flowers red, the other white.
The staring people stagger at the sight.
The maiden still is standing in her place;
And, 'twixt the rosy buds, they see her face.

  For very joy the people shout and sing.
The priests upon the ground lie grovelling,
And cast themselves abroad, and idly rave,
And pull the earth about them like a grave;
And in their howling presently they die.
The lovely lady murmurs thankfully;
And by the people homeward she is brought,
With flights of gleaming angels overthwart.

  Thus sprang those marvellous trees; and it is said,
That from the burnt brands came the Roses red,
And from the unburnt came the Roses pale.
I say no farther. I have done my tale.


THE most difficult likeness I ever had to
take, not even excepting my first attempt in
the art of Portrait-painting, was a likeness
of a gentleman named Faulkner. As far as
drawing and colouring went, I had no
particular fault to find with my picture; it was
the expression of the sitter which I had failed
in renderinga failure quite as much his
fault as mine. Mr. Faulkner, like many
other persons by whom I have been employed,
took it into his head that he must assume an
expression, because he was sitting for his
likeness; and, in consequence, contrived to
look as unlike himself as possible, while I
was painting him. I had tried to divert his
attention from his own face, by talking with
him on all sorts of topics. We had both
travelled a great deal, and felt interested
alike in many subjects connected with our
wanderings over the same countries.
Occasionally, while we were discussing our travelling
experiences, the unlucky set-look left his
countenance, and I began to work to some
purpose; but it was always disastrously sure
to return again, before I had made any great
progressor, in other words, just at the very
time when I was most anxious that it should
not re-appear. The obstacle thus thrown in
the way of the satisfactory completion of my
portrait, was the more to be deplored, because
Mr. Faulkner's natural expression was a very
remarkable one. I am not an author, so I
cannot describe it. I ultimately succeeded
in painting it, however; and this was the
way in which I achieved my success:—

On the morning when my sitter was coming
to me for the fourth time, I was looking at
his portrait in no very agreeable mood
looking at it, in fact, with the disheartening
conviction that the picture would be a perfect
failure, unless the expression in the face
represented were thoroughly altered and improved
from nature. The only method of
accomplishing this successfully, was to make Mr.
Faulkner, somehow, insensibly forget that he
was sitting for his picture. What topic could
I lead him to talk on, which would entirely
engross his attention while I was at work on
his likeness ?—I was still puzzling my brains
to no purpose on this subject when Mr.
Faulkner entered my studio; and, shortly
afterwards, an accidental circumstance gained